Carmelo and the (stinky) Knicks

Had the great misfortune of catching the fourth quarter of last night’s Celtics-Knicks game from Madison Square Garden.

I suppose there’s a 60/40 chance the Big Trade (caps intended) works out in the long run for New York. Anthony is extremely talented, and if the NBA is, indeed, a league of superstars, well, the team has two. Bravo!

That being said, man, in a matter of weeks the Knicks have gone from riveting to really, really, really boring. With the trade they are officially merely another bogged-down, dull-as-dirt two-man operation. Wait for Amar’e to shoot. Wait for Melo to stoot. Stand around the perimeter. Dribble, dribble, dribble, dribble. I’m not saying I’m an expert, but Anthony is my least-favorite genre of professional athlete—a one-dimensional, score-and-score-some-more black hole who plays terrible defense and rarely finds (or looks for) the open man.

I suppose what irks me the most is the lack of, well, organic material. Back when I was growing up, and the Knicks began to emerge, it was a very organic process. OK, they got lucky by landing the first pick to draft Patrick Ewing. But then they added Gerald Wilkins and Mark Jackson and Rod Strickland via the draft. They traded for Charles Oakley, signed John Starks as a nobody free agent. There were a couple of vets who hung around (Trent Tucker comes to mind), but not many. It was a piece-by-piece job, and fans enjoyed that growth process.

Now, in 2011, this just doesn’t feel right. I want to develop with a team; to see baby steps. You make the playoffs. Then, the next year, you win a round. Then two rounds. Gradually, you add pieces. You’re a contender. You’re in the finals. You’ve made it. The Nets of the early 2000s actually did this very well. One huge blockbuster—Jason Kidd from the Suns—surrounded by a bunch of draftees (Keith Van Horn, Kerry Kittles, Kenyon Martin) and a couple of nice pickups. That’s how you construct a team.

The Knicks feel like a rush job. But not a good rush job.

I’m bored.

PS: And I love that the franchise is upping season ticket prices by nearly 50% next year. Typical.

7 thoughts on “Carmelo and the (stinky) Knicks”

  1. Jeff, I’m not going to argue that the Knicks have done a rush job but I think they made the right trade to get Carmelo. They gave up nothing to get Carmelo and I say that as a Celtics fan.

    But look back on that Nets roster that made two Finals in a row. Even look at Iverson’s 76ers that made it the year before Kidd’s Nets or Pierce’s Celtics when he had Antoine Walker as his best teammate. Those were awful, awful teams that would have ran any of those teams out of the gym. Those early 2000s East teams are among the worst rosters to ever make it to the Finals. And that proved correct since none of them were able to put up a serious fight against the West.

    Even then, Jason Kidd was so ridiculously good that he made Kenyon, Kerry, Van Horn, and Richard Jefferson better than they were.

  2. All I can say is, it sure is fun being a Nuggets fan right now. 10-4 since the trade! The Knicks gave up nothing, Marty? Maybe no All-Stars, but at least I’m seeing defense and team basketball now, which was rare during the Melo era.

    Also: in Melo’s seven full seasons as a Nugget, the team won multiple playoff games in only one of them. I think things will get better for the Knicks, but I don’t see a Finals appearance in their future.

  3. D’antoni’s Suns NEVER played defense either. But they had pieces that fit AND a cheap owner. If any team could have won on all-offense, it was them.

    I don’t think anybody thought that if they got Carmelo for nothing that they would have won a championship. I thought just mattering was all the Knicks wanted. With or without Carmelo, I can’t see them making it past the 2nd round anyway.

    So while I think the Knicks front office is and has been in chaos and there is legit concerns about Carmelo, I’m just shrugging my shoulders. Same thing for what’s happening in Miami. The pieces will come.

    And I wouldn’t blame what happened in Denver on Carmelo at all. Tougher conference than the East for the last decade by far. Does LeBron’s Cavs make it as far as they did?

    Also, Carmelo had some of the worst teammates from a chemistry standpoint
    -JR Smith
    -Chris Andersen
    -Allen Iverson (love him, but this was post-Philly Iverson)
    -Kenyon Martin

    And George Karl is an overrated coach. I always expect him to do something stupid come playoff time and it always does. Plus, he and Ray Allen, among others, have beef with each other.

    Denver’s playing better because EVERYBODY knew Carmelo was going to be traded. That whole Denver team had bad chemistry all season because they all felt like they were going to be traded. It is 100% true that that effects teams. That Denver team should have been blown up 3 seasons ago. They’ve ALWAYS had bad cheistry.

    Knicks fans can be disappointed & pissed off with what they’re seeing. But they’re delusional if they thought that they were title contenders. And how arrogant do you have to be to see that they got 2 of the best players in the trade for nothing. The Knicks had NOTHING to give while the Nets were willing to give anything (and they eventually did for Deron) I’m not terribly high on Gallinari. Felton you could give up. And they MIGHT get Deron Williams in a year or so. And they’ll get a Center to protect Amar’e since he doesn’t play D or rebound.

  4. The New Knicks have played 16 games since the trade and are 7-9 down that stretch, losing to some of the best teams in the NBA (Boston, Orlando, and Dallas). Have there been some howlers? Yes. Cleveland, for some reason, still brings its best only when it plays the Knicks and then they lost some close games to Milwaukee, Detroit and Indiana, who are all competing for playoff spots.

    Not to mention that the Knicks’ record in the first 16 games of the season was 8-8 against much softer opposition. It took time for the Knicks to gel at the beginning of the season and it will take time for the new Amare/Melo Knicks to gel.

    But whatever the record, the fact is that the Knicks are a playoff team for the first time since 2004 and only the second time since Ewing left. Think about that. I don’t know how anybody can be upset right now and call themselves a Knicks fan.

  5. Also, I grew up with that Ewing/Starks Knicks team that you describe. I remembered those times fondly during the Isiah days, but that team never won anything either and when I take off the rose-colored glasses, I remember lots and lots of heartbreak.

    Maybe not all that much has changed.

  6. All valid points Marty. Melo definitely had a subpar supporting cast and coach during his tenure in a tough conference. But he can’t escape blame. He was the best player on that team, and they never even competed in the playoffs except for 2009 (where they beat weakened N.O. & Dallas teams). He contributed immensely to the ‘bad chemistry’ that you note. I just don’t see much changing in NYC with his arrival, and I predict the next few years will be just like those in Denver: early playoff exits.

  7. Yeah, I can’t really argue against that. Chicago and Miami look tougher for the future, particularly the former. I think that Chris Bosh will be traded and Dwight Howard will sign with the Lakers eventually. The Magic did an awful job with building around Dwight by overpaying mediocre guys (Rashard Lewis; Bass; taking on Gilbert Arenas and Hedo again).

    I wonder if Mike D’antoni will actually stay on as coach.

    This is a good article on the Nuggets front office….

    Everybody is really high on WHO they have running.

    The Knicks have one of the worst front offices of ANY league.

    Also, Carmelo=clutch on offense when the time matters. He is one of the 3-5 scariest guys in the league, by far, when it matters. He’s the best pure scorer in the league (can bang down low). He may be kind of an idiot, but I don’t think he is evil. He’s a well-liked guy. I think the best quote about Carmelo was Ty Lawson laughing and saying that Carmelo was ‘retarded’ in 2009-2010. This is the first time he’s facing the heat and we’ll see what happens. I just think it’s incredibly naive to expect the Knicks to do anything better than make it past the 2nd round. They’re not.

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